The Good Guys: The Phoenix Suns, 7-5 and playing their fourth game of a six-game road trip
The Bad Guys: The Philadelphia 76ers, 0-11 and waiting for Dario Saric to walk through that door
The Time: 5PM Arizona time, 7PM local time
The Place: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA
The Tube: Fox Sports-AZ
The Phoenix Suns are yet to be defeated on their Eastern road swing after inching out the Pistons in an 88-86 win that was about as exhilarating as a trip to the DMV. Their tour of Leastern patsies continues tonight with Max Bialystock's favorite team, the controversial Philadelphia 76ers.
To the surprise of few, the Sixers have yet to notch a win in their 2014/15 campaign and stand at 0-11, further fueling the mind-numbingly boorish "tanking" debate that actually nearly led to a reform of the NBA draft lottery. All hand-wringing aside, the Sixers are going about rebuilding in the way that they believe will yield the best returns in the future, and in the present there are still some basketball things happening that are worth watching, even if they're so bad that Papa John's had to adjust their tie-in discount from "50% off a pie if the Sixers win!" to "erm, ok ... 50% off a pie if the Sixers score 90, win or lose!"
Not 100 points, but 90. Sounds like the saddest pizza ever, and it is very difficult to make a pizza sad.
The Suns will obviously be looking to avoid the dubious distinction of handing the Sixers their first victory, and they'll do well to remind themselves that Hinkie's boys are still an NBA team, according to the requisite definition. For a team that needed every ball to bounce their way just to edge out the Pistons, there are no foregone conclusions. They head to Indianapolis tomorrow to take on the Pacers, so obviously picking up the first win of a back-to-back would be fortuitous.
Reasons To Watch
- Noel vs. Len! Covered nicely by our overlord Dave King here.
- The reigning Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, is back in the fold after missing the first seven games, and thus far has nearly as many FGA (58) as points (59). Could this be his breakout game?
- Speaking of MCW, there are no Sixers players under 6'6 in height. We've seen the Suns' backcourt struggle with big guards in the past, right? Should we be worried? Of course not. (but maybe a little?)
- The Sixers have some things on their roster called JaKarr Sampsons, Hollis Thompsons, and Drew Gordons. I don't know what these things are, but I'm intrigued.
- Per BasketballReference, the Sixers are currently 20th in defense, 30th in offense, but second in pace. So unlike Wednesday, we might actually see basketball being played tonight!
- The Morris twins are from Philly, which is neat.
- Rookie second-rounder K.J. McDaniels has demanded your attention, both with his ridiculous blocks and his mom taking her frustrations with the Hinkie Plan to the Twitterverse.
All that, plus the former "man of few words" just had to go and throw a log on the fire...
Remember that version of Eric Bledsoe during the summer that hardly said a word and drove us all crazy by going full J.D. Salinger and stowing himself away in Birmingham while in a contract stalemate with the Suns? Yeah, be careful what you wish for.
Bled went on Sirius XM NBA Radio and when asked how the Kentucky Wildcats would fare against the Sixers, he couldn't hold back his pride for his alma mater. "I'll definitely take Kentucky. I think Philly would probably get maybe one game."
Face, meet palm.
Sixers' guard Tony Wroten (whom Bledsoe will be matched up against at some point tonight) responded, "Nah, they can’t beat us. He’s crazy. Yeah, it’s insulting. He might be serious, but I know Bledsoe. I’m not going to take it personally."
Perhaps Bled wasn't aware of the schedule, or that his comments were being broadcast across the nation, but the Sixers are composed of men who play professional basketball, and men who play professional basketball are usually men of pride, and a team of prideful men that currently have lost 11 straight games surely don't need any additional motivation to notch their first win at home against a traveling team from out West that is currently (by Western standards) only average.
It's nice to see that you've found a public personality, Eric. Next up on the lesson plan: tact.
tact (plural tacts)
- The sense of touch; feeling. [quotations ▼]
- (music) The stroke in beating time.
- Sensitive mental touch; peculiar skill or faculty; nice perception or discernment; ready power of appreciating and doing what is required by circumstances. [quotations ▼]
- The ability to deal with embarrassing situations carefully and without doing or saying anything that will annoy or upset other people; careful consideration in dealing with others to avoid giving offense; the ability to say the right thing.
- By the use of tact, she was able to calm her jealous husband.
- I used tact when I told my fat uncle that his extra weight made him look better.
The Suns are currently a middling 17th in DRtg and 19th in ORtg. They are also fourth in pace, while the Sixers (as mentioned above) are second. If there was an opponent to get some mojo working against, surely it would be Philadelphia.
The Sixers are dead last in FG% (.402), points per game (88.6), 26th in 3PT% (.308), and 28th in TOV% (.168).
I could go on, but I'll stop there.
|G - Eric Bledsoe
|G - Michael Carter-Williams
|G - Goran Dragic
|G - Hollis Thompson
|F - Marcus Morris
|F - Luc Mbah A Moute
|F - Markieff Morris
|F - Nerlens Noel
|C - Miles Plumlee
|C - Henry Sims
For Philly, rookies Joel Embiid and Jerami Grant are out indefinitely, as is former Sun Jason Richardson. Suns have a clean bill of health.
Suns won 124-113 in Philly, completing the two-game season sweep. Gerald Green scored an absurd 30 points on just 12 FGA (TWELVE!!!).